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Local musicians heat up fair's Center Stage
Matt padlo pic1
Turlock musician Matt Padlo performs some of his original songs on Tuesday at the Stanislaus County Fair's MillerCoors Center Stage. - photo by CANDY PADILLA /The Journal


The Stanislaus County Fair is known for bringing top performers to the Turlock farigrounds each summer, and this year is no different with country stars like Colt Ford and Jerrod Niemann and rock legends like Eddie Money and Bret Michaels.

But it isn't just the headliners who are entertaining fair guests. Local musicians are scheduled to perform throughout the fair's run on the MillerCoors Center Stage. The fair receives approximately 30 to 35 requests to perform on the Center Stage each year, but only 20 are chosen to perform.

"We get a lot of requests to perform," said Stanislaus County Fair spokesperson Adrenna Alkhas. "We have a lot of local acts."

Those taking the Center Stage this year include longtime performers who are well-known in the local music scene, as well as up-and-comers trying to get their music heard.

One of those up-and-comers is Matt Padlo. The Turlock singer/songwriter released his first single, "Man of Steel," in January and has been working hard on getting his music out to the public ever since.

Padlo's Tuesday set on the fair's Center Stage, which included six original songs and three covers, was his first public performance.

"I like the atmosphere of the fair," he said. "I thought it was great. You have to get used to the whole stage sound.. but overall I was really happy with the way it went."

The fair was just the beginning of Padlo's summer performances as he is scheduled to play at 8 p.m. Aug. 22 on the Artists United Stage at XFest in downtown Modesto. For more information about Padlo, visit

Unlike Padlo, Tony Westlake is a fair veteran. Tony and the Tuff Times have performed at the Stanislaus County Fair for the past five years and have been a regulars in the local music scene for 20 years.

The harmonica-fronted group that plays Chicago-style Blues includes Westlake, drummer Mike Todd and saxophone player Greg Langlois all of Modesto; bass player Mark Greer of Ripon and guitar player Jake Hankal of Turlock.

"I think it's good to go to the fair and support the fair," said Westlake. "My guitar player just turned 16 and he's been involved in 4-H and he's a farmer so his whole family likes to come out and hear him play."

Tony and the Tuff Times are scheduled to perform 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the fair's Center Stage. The group can also be heard once a month at the Turlock Country Club and the Barkin' Dog Grill in downtown Modesto. For more information about the group, check out Tony and the Tuff Times on Facebook.